Vinehall is an imposing country house with a central building constructed in the late 1830s. It is believed that the great Joseph Paxton designed the grounds. When Lady Ashton died in 1938, the estate was sold and Vinehall started its life as a country preparatory school, opening with six local children.
During the Second World War, the school was evacuated to Killerton Park in Devon along with a local girls’ school. However, accounts from the time showed that the boys were not over-enthusiastic about playing lacrosse! The school returned to its Robertsbridge home after the war and in 1946 was bought by Major Tom Stuart-Menteath. He and his wife ran the school until 1957 when his stepson, Richard Taylor and his wife Pat continued running the school. Many of the old traditions of the school began under their care; the dormitories acquired their unusual names (for example Wild West, Squirrels and Hurricanes) and the habit of taking the children for a camping expedition to Tanners Farm began. The Year 6 children still visit the same location each summer term. The Taylors also had the foresight to build an indoor heated swimming pool, still in use today!
Richard and Pat Taylor handed the school over to their son-in-law David Chaplin in 1977. He and their daughter Sally remained until 2002. During their stewardship the school (which was already a charitable trust) took ownership of the whole estate and a major period of growth occurred. Pupil numbers rose throughout the years and many exciting developments followed, making Vinehall one of the best-equipped prep schools in the country. The purpose-built Pre-Prep was added as was a theatre, sports hall and finally in 2000 the magnificent Millennium Library and classroom complex.
They handed over a thriving school to Mrs Julie Robinson, who moved in with her husband Mark and young daughter Gemma in 2002, ready to take the school on to its next exciting period of development and history.
1938 - present day
Vinehall started its life as a country preparatory school in 1938 when the school opened with six local children. Vinehall was evacuated to Killerton Park in Devon during the war, and then in 1946 was bought by Tom Stuart-Menteath. His stepson Richard Taylor took over the school in 1957 and in 1977 his son-in-law David Chaplin continued the school as a charitable trust until Mrs Julie Robinson took over as head in 2002.
CD of 'A History of Vinehall' by Sally Chaplin is available from the school price £10. Please contact the school office.
Low resolution pdf's of the CD contents can be viewed below:
Early history: Part 1 (4.19Mb)
1860-1902: Part 2 (3.70Mb)
1902-1938: Part 3 (4.39Mb)
1938-1946: Part 4 (5.52Mb)
1946-1957: Part 5 (17.4Mb)
1950's: Part 6 (4.54Mb)
1949 Report: Part 7 (155Kb)
1957-1977: Part 8 (8.93Mb)
1960's and 1970's: Part 9 (176Kb)